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  Chris Hawkes

AQA GCSE English Language (2015-on)



AQA's GCSE English Language specification for teaching September 2015, with first examinations May/June 2017.

This is a skills-based specification - there is no tiering, and therefore questions are tailored to allow students of all abilities to respond appropriately. Within examinations, earlier questions will be easy access and low tariff, with later questions demanding a more extended response which will attract more marks.

The specification will enable students to develop their writing skills, as well as their ability to respond to texts from the 19th century to the present day.

In common with all boards, and in accordance with Ofqual regulations, there is no coursework or non-examination assessment for this specification. The compulsory Spoken Language unit does not count towards GCSE assessment, and will be separately graded and feature as an endorsement for the student. (See below.)

Achievement will be graded on a 1-9 scale (rather than the previous F-A* grading system) with 9 being the highest, and 5 classified as a "good pass")

GCSE English Language is assessed by two examinations, both 1 hour and 45 minutes, each carrying 50% of the total GCSE marks. Both examinations must be taken in the same year.

Paper 1:
Explorations in Creative Writing and Reading
80 marks: 50% of the total GCSE marks

Section A: Reading - 40 marks

Students will be given an unseen prose fiction text, and asked questions about the writer's narrative techniques and how these engage the reader.

As this specification is skills based, there will be no expectation of a "right" answer; the focus will be on the student's ability to read and respond.

The text will be drawn from 20th or 21st century literature, an extract from a short story or a novel, chosen to allow students to write about the author's narrative and descriptive effects.

Section B: Writing - 40 marks

Students will be asked to write about a topic linked to the passage in Section A. They will be provided with a written or picture stimulus, and given a defined form, purpose and audience.

Paper 2:
Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives
80 marks: 50% of the total GCSE marks

Section A: Reading - 40 marks

Students will be given two non-fiction texts on a linked subject from two different times - one 19th century, and one 20th or 21st century - and genres, and asked questions about how the writers present viewpoints to influence the reader.

Section B: Writing - 40 marks

Students will be asked to give their own perspectives on the issue raised in Section A whilst writing in a defined form for a defined purpose and audience.


Spoken Language
Non-Examination Assessment

Spoken Language will not count towards the GCSE award; however, it is a compulsory assessment, and the result will be separately endorsed.

Students will deliver a presentation on a theme chosen by the teacher that includes opportunities for questions and answers. The presentation must be in a formal setting, and delivered in Standard English.

The teacher will assess the presentation: there are four bands of achievement - Unclassified, Pass, Merit and Distinction.

Marks will be standardised by a moderator: teachers submit video recordings of the final presentations of 25 of their students to justify the award of grades.



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